From Our President & CEO
I acknowledge that we are in the treaty territory of the Tsawwassen First Nations and the unceded territory of the Coast Salish people, specifically the Kwantlen, Katzie, and Semiahmoo First Nations. As well, I acknowledge the Inuit and Metis Nations peoples who live and work on these territories.
Honorary Captain (NAVY) Anita Huberman
President & CEO
ABOUT OUR PRESIDENT & CEO
Anita Huberman has been CEO of the Surrey Board of Trade for 15 years for one of the top 10 Boards of Trade/Chambers of Commerce in Canada, and for one of the largest cities in Canada. Anita and her team serve more than 6,000 member contacts. She is an Honorary Captain of the Royal Canadian Navy (appointed by Canada’s Minister of National Defence, just re-appointed for her third term till 2024), holds the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal, was a Business in Vancouver Top 40 Under 40 award winner, awarded the 2019 Surrey Community Builder of the Year and received a Canada 150 Community Medal. She serves on the Board of Directors for the Forum for International Trade Training (FITT), Premier’s Economic Recovery Task Force, BC Economic Development Minister Industry Engagement Table, SFU President’s Advisory Council, SFU India Advisory Council, OMNI TV Advisory Council, Destination BC Advisory Council. Anita served as a Trustee of Canada’s National Film Board for six years, appointed by Canada’s Minister of Heritage. Anita is a highly visible advocate for Surrey businesses at all levels of government with a demonstrated history of evolving, reinvigorating and transforming civic, business & social organization industries.
In March 2020, the President of the World Health Organization said that it would be the Board of Trade/Chamber of Commerce industry that will support business through this pandemic. Reflected in our results this past year and now as we consider the transformational change that we are facing for our economy and our business community, the Surrey Board of Trade has proven that we are there for business – supporting them in their diverse needs through our diversified service portfolio. Our fiscal strength built over my 15 year tenure as CEO, helped support the Surrey Board of Trade in our time of need during the pandemic – when as I was the last person to lock the door on March 17 – we had no idea what the future held and what the future still holds.
All staff and I invoked ground zero principles – being the concierge of connections to government and stakeholders – fielding and responding to businesses and organizations. I remember sometimes fielding calls on government support programs till well into the night in the first three months of the pandemic.
The Surrey Board of Trade has had an upward trend of growth for fiscal, membership, profile and projects to benefit not only Surrey, but also the province and nation. And yes, we’ve had some fiscal challenges in this pandemic year.
But I am here to tell you that the Surrey Board of Trade is and will continue to be Surrey’s city-building business organization. Our direct connections to the Prime Minister’s office, the SBOT being one of 9 organizations on the Premier’s Economic Recovery Task Force, our Surrey Economic Recovery Coalition having direct contact to the City of Surrey means that members continue to receive value. Our ability to instigate change at all levels of government, to responsibly issue policy change (even when some don’t agree) has been instrumental to helping members and the business community. The Surrey Board of Trade last year delivered Surrey’s first Labour Market Study and Workforce Strategy till 2029. Due to the results of this, a couple of weeks ago, the SBOT received funding from the BC Government of over $400,000 for a variety of Economic Recovery projects.
My amazing Staff work with me every day to bring in new initiatives for the benefit and value to our members, to our city, to our nation. I, and my team have positive passion and dedication, each and every day focused on supporting and attracting business.
For the Surrey Board of Trade, as a not for profit organization, financial support is derived solely from membership fees, events & sponsorship and service contracts. I run this organization as a business – we can’t go into a loss and we need to watch our expenses and save for future unknown expenses or capital investments.
Thank you to our members and sponsors for your ongoing support of the Surrey Board of Trade, Surrey’s non-partisan, city-building business organization.
In 2019, our national chamber of commerce recognized the Surrey Board of Trade as being in the top 3 in Canada for our government advocacy. I won the Community Builder of the Year Award, from the Surrey Now-Leader Media Group. We released the first Surrey Labour Market Study and Workforce Strategy, hosted high profile keynote speakers, elevated the Surrey International Trade Centre portfolio and continued being the destination for business support and business attraction. The Surrey Board of Trade speaks for the business community at public hearings and to the media. It is a recognized voice of business. Again, we received extensive media coverage from local and national media.
The Surrey Board of Trade continues to be a vibrant, growing organization providing a forum for debate on critical issues. We continued to be an innovative public policy solution provider and a destination for networking for Surrey’s business community. In fact, 15% of our 6,000 member contacts are outside of Surrey. They join the Surrey Board of Trade because they want to know what is happening in Surrey, they want connections, they want government advocacy, and they want business support – locally and internationally. Our association with a network of Chambers of Commerce and Boards of Trade around the world – in this 500-year old global industry – gives us a uniquely credible voice.
Our goal, always, is to ensure that the Surrey Board of Trade is at the center of business support. The events that we host align with these initiatives and that of the Advocacy Teams. We don’t just have a speaker event for the sake of having a speaker – every program that you see come through your emails aligns with the growth of this organization, through a certain theme that is promoted – such as Environment, International Trade, Tourism/Arts/Culture, Workforce, Social Policy, Innovation, Transportation, Industry, Finance and more. It is all to do with driving the economy of your business and your city.
The Surrey Board of Trade will continue to bring in new ideas for the benefit and value to our members. We continue to push the boundaries and innovate the organization through projects, community involvement, and advocacy initiatives that put Surrey at the forefront of positive and productive discussion.
As we look into the future of the Surrey Board of Trade, Surrey and our region, we must always ask for and continue to focus on results. We are not the organization that we were 20 years ago, nor could we have stayed that way to be relevant.
In our ongoing comprehensive plan we will continue to focus on addressing the following:
Can Surrey and the South Fraser Economic Region achieve new standards of economic vitality and livability that are equal to or beyond that enjoyed by other successful areas?
Can we develop the range of quality economic, cultural and educational opportunities needed to move Surrey forward and become one of the nation’s most livable cities?
Can we engage the business community in maintaining a laser-like focus on strategies that will indeed create a higher standard of livability for Surrey and the South Fraser Economic Region?
And related to these objectives, can the Surrey Board of Trade achieve new levels of productivity, commitment, leadership and impact?
The Surrey Board of Trade, with your help, will ensure that:
Businesses have the opportunities and supports to succeed (tools, connections, resources for local and international business support; innovation; opportunities for connections; thriving local, regional and international business climate);
Government decision-makers have information on current and emerging issues and research from a business and economic lens; and,
Surrey is attractive to business (to make Surrey safe, inclusive and affordable and for business to access a diverse workforce with relevant skills).
Our marketplace is constantly changing – paradigms are shifting – and economic conditions are dynamic with new demands – which create new expectations for proactive and responsive leadership by the Surrey Board of Trade.
A call to action…for Surrey
The Surrey Board of Trade can accomplish many things but at the heart of a successful organization is the active participation of its members. We are only as strong as our members. I call upon you to be active by joining our Teams, by renewing your memberships, by getting other businesses to join, by attending our many interesting events, by providing feedback on the many issues that I email you about, but most of all, by being an ambassador for Surrey business. Together, our potential is boundless to make Surrey an Opportunity City!
Let’s continue to power up entrepreneurial success in Surrey. Let’s continue to risk, care, dream, expect and expand our networks, locally, nationally and internationally.
Check out businessinsurrey.com to stay up to date on Surrey’s economic development, our government advocacy, our business and international support services and our city-building events.
President & CEO, Surrey Board of Trade